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Criticism

In response to:

Pow! Now from the August 13, 1970 issue

To the Editors:

The fiction reviewers in The New York Review of Books are so often full of contempt and even hatred for the books they review. Why is it? Do they resent making a dollar in this honorable old trade? Or do they resent having to pause for reflection in their stampede for more reviewing dollars?

The dogs of the trade are the younger British reviewers nurtured by The New York Review of Books. Their vocabulary and scorn are Brophyesque (after their mean-spirited poseur, Bridget), their carelessness, distortions, and literary cretinism the products of resentment and rancor.

I speak as a recent victim of Mr. D. A. N. Jones [NYR, August 13], perhaps the doggiest of the lot. May other authors be spared his mean stupidity. As for him, a curse on his foul hide.

Richard Stern

Department of English

University of Chicago

D.A.N Jones replies:

This self-parody neatly illustrates several of Richard Stern’s failings as a writer: the antiquated rhetoric, the irrelevant allusions (to my race and to Brigid Brophy, her name characteristically misspelled), and, above all, the lack of matter, the absence of any arguable point.

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